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My favorite greeting in Japanese

The Japanese language has been an integral part of my life since birth. There are countless favorite words and sayings in Japanese I love, but in particular what we say at the end of each meal, "Gochisosama".


It means, "Thank you for the food". But it's more than that. "Gochiso" is used for a meal ranked higher than a regular meal such as feast. In addition, "sama" shows great respect from the person who had the meal. Sama is often added after a person's name to show that you respect the person you are meeting with.


If you are meeting, let's say Mr. Shohei Ohtani, for the first time either in public or private (or at least we pretend), you never want to say, "Hey, Ohtani". With so much information on the internet about the Japanese language, most of the American public even knows that is very rude. "Ohtani-san" is nicer. That's like calling him, "Mr. Ohtani". But if you want to show him that you have the utmost respect for him, you might consider calling him "Ohtani-sama". But wait, before you actually do that, Mr. Ohtani may not wish that you be so proper and polite. He may be ok with you calling him "Ohtani-san" because he just seems so down-to-earth, or so I imagine. Anyway, my point is, if you add "sama" at the end of the name or item, it shows that you are showing the utmost respect for them.


Not only we say "Gochisosama" at the end of each meal, we also put our hands together as if we pray in the Western culture and say it. We don't say it after the Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner meal. We say it after each meal to show great respect for the food and whoever prepared the meal for us.


Growing up, I never knew these details until much later. I really miss my mother's and grandmother's cooking. My grandma has passed away several years ago, and I have not been able to see my mother for more than five years because of my academic pursuits plus the infamous COVID. I pray hard that next year, finally when the Japanese government lift the restrictions, I can go visit her without any worries or anxieties so I can have her meal and say, "Gochisosama".

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